Happy Birthday Spanish Bride

Today is Spanish Bride’s birthday

My father in law was reading a book by Georgette Heyer called The Spanish Bride. He liked the name of Harry Smith’s wife.

The book is about the true story of  Harry Smith and his wife Juana María de los Dolores de León Smith.

The town of Ladysmith is named after her.

In 1812, at the age of fourteen, she found herself orphaned and only with a sister, when her home town Badajoz was besieged for the fourth time during the Peninsular War. After the siege ended in a successful but very bloody storming by the British and Portuguese forces, the sisters sought protection from the plundering and pillaging soldiers by some British officers they found camping outside the city walls. One of them was Brigade-Major Harry Smith, of the elite 95th Rifles scout regiment, whom she married a few days later.  

Instead of letting herself be sent home to her husband’s family, she chose to accompany him with the army. She remained with him throughout the rest of the war, accompanying the baggage train, sleeping in the open on the field of battle, riding freely among the troops, and sharing all the privations of campaigning. Her beauty, courage, sound judgment and amiable character endeared her to the officers, including the Duke of Wellington, who spoke of her familiarly as Juanita; and she was idolized by the soldiers.

That’s a bit of history over the name of Spanish Bride.

Happy birthday darling, you are now the same age as me again….for while there I was sleeping with a younger woman.

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